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Real Wine: The Rediscovery of Natural Winemaking Hardcover – December 10, 2000

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Editorial Reviews


Excellent ... Matthews' latest work is well-written and researched and full of clear-headed opinions. The book is extremely topical. -- Richard Neill, Daily Telegraph (London) October 14, 2000

Intriguing and irritating in equal parts, like Matthews' first book The Wild Bunch. -- Jasper Morris, The Vine, December 2000

One terrific read... Matthews' book gets closer to the reality of today's wine business than most. -- Harvey Steiman, Wine Spectator, August 31, 2001

Portraits of some truly revolutionary winemakers. -- Food and Wine, December, 2000

[O]ne of the most fascinating wine books I have read in recent years. -- Christine Austin, Yorkshire Post, England, October 7, 2000

About the Author

Patrick Matthews' first wine book 'The Wild Bunch -- great wines from small producers' (Faber) won the 1998 Glenfiddich award. His second book 'Cannabis Culture' (Bloomsbury) has been critically acclaimed. He writes for Decanter magazine and has contributed to Saveur and Food and Wine.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Mitchell Beazley (December 10, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1840002573
  • ISBN-13: 978-1840002577
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.1 x 7.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #917,510 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By R. Apte on October 31, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Matthews' subject and sources are impeccable, and eventually he makes his points. But the prose is rambling and without focus. The problem is his inability to decide what he's writing, portraits of California winemakers who have moved to more traditional methods, the usual critique of UC Davis agri-business, an essay on natural winemaking methods, or, oddly, a history of california winemaker's political beliefs during WWII. He succeeds best with his essay, but the biographical portraits obscure his technical points.
As a piece of reportage this work is interesting and informative. But for the winemaker it offers little more than name-dropping and a gloss over the challenges of growing great wines.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 3, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This book is the antidote to a world of soulless, manufactured, Parkerized, fruit bombs. If you like to buy wine based only on "points" or if you like oaky, butterball Chardonnay this will be a real eye-opener. After reading it, I could only wish that it be required reading for all Wine Spectator subscribers. I think that after reading this book many people would appreciate that great wine is wine with character, wine that reflects where it comes from. This point is central to real enjoyment of wine which can be as much intellectual as sensual.
The author tells an engaging well-researched story with a provocative point of view. On the flip side, while I appreciate his taking a stand, he comes off with an almost blind hero-worship of all things French. A reflection of this is his belief that great wine is only made in limestone soils. The counter-examples to this are endless, including many of the best wines in the New World, Rochioli vineyard comes to mind. But while I might occasionally disagree with minor points, the author's advocacy of "natural wine" is compelling.
In the midst of fascinating personal anecdotes the author manages to let readers in on the internal debates surrounding great wine, revealing the artistic and philosophical quandaries that the wine world faces today. This is a great book for anyone who loves wine
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By M. Ragen on April 10, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Many books on winemaking attempt to reduce a complex topic into a 'cookbook' approach to making wine. Instead, Matthews delves into the philosophical issues of what makes a 'real' wine. The goal is to understand how personal taste can be translated into the grape-growing and winemaking process.
In the late 1990s, there has been a revival of natural methods that counter the industrial approach to winemaking. This book is centered on the tension between approaches to making wine that are used in the old world and new world. To illustrate this tension, this book focuses is mainly on California, where where is currently a swing back to more natural methods where there is currently a swing back to more natural methods although winemakers use both approaches. Some of the topics covered include: What is the role of terroir (site selection) in making wine? How do you choose which grapes to grow? How does one go about planting the vineyard? What makes some wine 'good' and some wine 'bad'?
Matthews' book is thought-provoking. It is well worth buying if you are interested in wines and winemaking and some of the tradeoffs that winemakers are making in their search for wine that embodies the soul of the earth from which the grapes grow.
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